which serve to stabilise the emulsion. This sort of emulsion will be lighter than a real mayonnaise
because the egg white proteins will also stabilise air bubbles incorporated by the whisking, making the
overall emulsion more airy.
New phospholipids based emulsions:
As explained previously, egg yolks contain a large quantity of phospholipids, known as lecithin, so are
commonly used to stabilize emulsions. However, the inclusion of egg yolk in emulsions can impart a
fairly strong taste, that is not suitable for all emulsions; and it is especially fragile in hot emulsions
where the proteins contained in the egg yolk are likely to coagulate in the presence of the heat and
Isolated lecithin can be easily bought and can be used to stabilize emulsions instead of egg yolks - it
prevents lumps forming in hot emulsions and will not give the emulsion an “eggy” taste. However, the
large quantity that needs to be added to get sufficient stabilization tends to impart an undesirable
colour and taste to the final emulsion. However, it is nevertheless used in cooking in hot emulsions,
because it eliminates the sauces heat sensitivity.
Egg yolks are not the only ingredient used in the kitchen that stabilize emulsions. All cells, vegetal and
animal, contain subcompartments that are restricted by cell membranes – these membranes are
composed of phospholipid layers. In living cells, these molecules form bilayers so that the water loving
phospholipids head can contact both the inside and the outside of the cell, both of which are aqueous
environments, protecting their hydrophobic areas inside.
Theoretically, any vegetable or meat source, since they contain phospholipid containing cell
membranes, can be vigorously mixed (to break the cell walls and release the phospholipids) and if oil
is added gradually to this base a stable emulsion can be formed, although often a little extra water
may need to be added if the chosen ingredient naturally contains little water.
III/I - 1 (of 9)
More about culinary ingredients: Eggs